New website launched to engage young people across the UK in the energy debate

 

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23 March 2016

From heating homes, to powering gadgets and fuel for transport, energy underpins our modern lives and the demand for energy is growing on a global scale. A new interactive website has launched today (23 March) designed to engage 11-16 year olds across the United Kingdom in a debate on our future energy supply - how our demand for energy can be met reliably, at an acceptable economic and environmental cost. Visitors to OurFuture.Energy will discover the science behind the critical issues we face in balancing our energy use and supply to meet demand.

Interactive games and quizzes, animations and videos, as well as current news stories will give young people an engaging and immersive digital experience. Users will learn more about energy sources such as oil and gas, nuclear and renewable power so they can form their own opinion on the energy mix.

Visitors to the site will hear from people working in the industry, get back to basics to discover how things work and voice their opinion in debates. Featured topics include the sustainability of clothes in 'How Green Is Your Outfit' and striving to reach equilibrium in "Balancing Our Energy Future." Young people, parents and teachers will also be able to access authoritative and credible information based on scientific evidence for homework, projects and to find out the science behind the headlines.

OurFuture.Energy will encourage young people to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the energy sector by nurturing an interest in the core science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. An informed society and skilled workforce is vital for the UK to confront the challenges we face to deliver a secure, affordable and cleaner energy future.

The web resource has been brought to life by partner organisations from across the energy sector including oil and gas industry skills organisation OPITO, the leading not-for-profit renewable energy trade association RenewableUK, the Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) and the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry UKOOG. The website also has support from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

"As we move towards more mixed energy sources adding more renewables and nuclear to oil and gas, it's vital that we inform and inspire youngsters as they'll be the engineers and scientists keeping the lights on in the years to come.

"This new website is an excellent way to reach children about balancing energy security, the environment and what's affordable, and they will hopefully go on to pick science and maths subjects before going into a rewarding career in the energy sector."

OPITO managing director John McDonald said:

"Pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry remains high on the agenda for many young people and offering a new source for them to find out more about the sector is very exciting.

"The OurFuture.Energy website will help to promote the full energy mix and give the next generation a better understanding of the various subject areas relevant to their interests. In turn, this will keep the industry supplied with fresh talent who've made informed choices in order to meet their full potential."

Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive of partner organisation RenewableUK, commented:

"Many young people are passionately interested in a wide range of environmental issues - and the question of how we generate electricity plays a central part in that debate. So it's important that they have the facts at their fingertips, and that the information is accurate, well-sourced, and presented in a way that will stimulate real enthusiasm. That's exactly what this new resource offers, along with some inspiring stories of people finding rewarding jobs in renewables and other parts of the energy sector. It will help to ensure that we attract the best and the brightest into our industries in the years ahead".

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said:

"With gas supplying 83% of our homes with heat, 61% with the ability to cook and up to 50% of our electricity requirement on some days, and with most of that gas predicted to come from outside the UK, it is an absolute no brainier that we need to educate children on where energy comes from and how it's used. Who would have thought that a plastic dinosaur comes from a real dinosaur!"

Jayne Hallett, on behalf of the NIC, commented:

''The NIC is pleased to be contributing to this new digital resource, which provides young people with a wealth of information on all aspects of energy.
The provision of such resources provides young people with inspirational content that may positively shape their future career choices."

Glasgow Science Centre was commissioned to create, develop and maintain the website using the experience gained from creating their physical Powering the Future energy exhibition. Dr Stephen Breslin, Chief Executive of the Centre said:
"OurFuture.Energy will enthuse young people about the energy sector by inspiring them with the challenges we face and how they can play a role in addressing these issues to help secure our future energy supply. The online resource will play a central role in developing the scientists and engineers of tomorrow who will contribute to finding the long-term solutions to our energy needs as we change the way we produce and use energy.
Since December, over 70,000 people have visited Powering the Future and engaged in the energy debate. Using our knowledge gained through making the exhibition, we will create relevant and engaging content that will bring the challenges around the energy trilemma to life and help young people to understand their role in coming up with the best ways to approach balancing carbon emissions, energy costs, and security of energy supply."

ENDS

Issued by BIG Partnership on behalf of the OurFuture.Energy partner organisations. For more information, please contact:

Notes to editors:

• Interviews opportunities are available with Maf Smith (RenewableUK), Dr Stephen Breslin (Glasgow Science Centre), Emily Armstrong (URENCO) and Ken Cronin (UKOOG) and can be arranged via BIG Partnership

• OPITO is the oil and gas industry's focal point for skills, learning and workforce development. Headquartered in Aberdeen, the organisation develops targeted initiatives and programmes to ensure a sustainable supply of skilled individuals into the oil and gas industry both now and in the future. It does this by raising awareness of, and promoting the oil and gas industry as a career, providing coherent, informed guidance on careers paths, training opportunities and employment information. OPITO also gathers and analyses intelligence and research to inform the development of national skills solutions – building strategic partnerships, connecting industry stakeholders and facilitating effective collaborations. For more information visit www.opito.com

•  The Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) is the leading partnership forum between the UK nuclear industry and Government. The Nuclear Industry Council is one of the core concepts of the Nuclear Industrial Strategy and highlights the commitment by Government to the continued success and growth of the UK nuclear industry. www.gov.uk/government/groups/nuclear-industry-council

• RenewableUK is the not-for-profit professional body and trade association representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries

• UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry. The organisation's objectives are to enhance the profile of the onshore industry, promote better and more open dialogue with key stakeholders, deliver industry wide initiatives and programmes and to ensure standards in safety, the environment and operations are maintained to the highest possible level. Membership is open to all companies active in the onshore industry including those involved in the supply chain. www.ukoog.org.uk The Natural Gas coalition has released two infographics highlighting the importance of oil and gas in our daily lives, and can be found at the links below.

http://www.ukoog.org.uk/the-natural-gas-coalition/a-day-in-the-life

http://www.ukoog.org.uk/the-natural-gas-coalition/gas-use-in-the-home

• Glasgow Science Centre is a five-star visitor attraction that presents science and technology concepts in unique and inspiring ways. Over 300,000 people visit the Centre annually. Its Science Mall is home to hundreds of interactive exhibits, spectacular shows, fulldome digital planetarium and IMAX theatre. As an educational charity, Glasgow Science Centre provides a curriculum-aligned education programme to more than 100,000 Scottish schoolchildren each year. In December 2015, the Centre opened its £1.5 million energy exhibition which has engaged over 75k visitors to date.

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